Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Off Balance: A Memoir by Dominique Moceanu

Off Balance: A Memoir by Dominique Moceanu with Paul Williams and Teri Williams
Release Date:
June 12, 2012
Publisher: Touchstone
Source: Library

Summary

An unflinchingly honest memoir from Olympic gold medalist Dominique Moceanu that reveals the often dark underbelly of Olympic gymnastics as only an insider can—and the secrets she learned about the past that nearly tore apart her family.At fourteen years old, Dominique Moceanu was the youngest member of the 1996 U.S. Women’s Olympic Gymnastic team, the first and only American women’s team to take gold at the Olympics. Her pixie-like appearance, passion for the sport, and ferocious competitive drive quickly earned her the status of media darling. But behind the fame, the flawless floor routines, and the million-dollar smile, her life was a series of challenges and hardships.

From her stubborn father and long-suffering mother, to her acclaimed Svengali-like coach, Bela Karolyi, Off Balance reveals how each of the dominating characters contributed to Moceanu’s rise to the top. Here, Moceanu finally shares the haunting stories of competition, her years of hiding injuries and pain out of fear of retribution from her coaches, and how she hit rock bottom after being publicly scorned by her father.

But medals, murder plots, drugs, and daring escapes aside (all of which figure into Moceanu’s incredible journey), the most unique aspect of her life is the family secret that Moceanu discovers, opening a new and unexpected chapter in her adult life, just as she reclaims the love of the sport that had defined so much of her life.

A multilayered memoir that transcends the world of gymnastics and sport, Off Balance will touch anyone who has ever dared to dream of a better life. (courtesy of Goodreads)

Review

I generally limit my reviews to young adult fiction, but with the Olympics underway and the most interesting parts of this book focusing on Dominique's teenage years, I'm making an exception. I've been a huge gymnastics fan my entire life. Unfortunately, my future as an Olympian was cut short at a mere 3 years of age by the development of a healthy fear of "what might hurt Alison" (plus having the flexibility of a dry twig).  So I lived vicariously through the Magnificent Seven in 1996.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Manga Mondays (113): Skip Beat! vol. 14 by Yoshiki Nakamura

New Manga Mondays Meme!

I've been doing Manga Mondays every week since I started my blog 2 years ago. It's always been a personal feature, but now I'm going to try turning it into a meme. There are quite a few people who do Manga Mondays. I don't claim by any means that I owned or created the idea of Manga Mondays - it's an obvious choice given the alliteration. I think a meme would be a good way for everyone to publicize their own Manga Mondays and get a little more publicity.

The linky will be below my review.

Skip Beat! vol. 14 by Yoshiki Nakamura


Summary

Kyoko Mogami followed her true love Sho to Tokyo to support him while he made it big as an idol. But he's casting her out now that he's famous! Kyoko won't suffer in silence--she's going to get her sweet revenge by beating Sho in show biz!

Vie Ghoul is the new band burning up the charts by stealing Sho's moves, and Kyoko's hopping mad on his behalf. Kyoko's confrontation with Sho about his lack of action doesn't go as well as she hoped--Sho gets violent, and the front man for Vie Ghoul gets a good look at Kyoko's demons. And both men seem a little more interested in Kyoko than Ren would like... (courtesy of the back cover and Goodreads)

Review

*Warning: Potential spoilers. My manga reviews tend to be more of a summary than a review. I find it hard to review manga in the same way I do regular books.

Sho returns and so do the Kyoko grudges, with a (literal) vengeance! Kyoko is invited to appear on a popular interview show because of Tsukimori. It just happens that Sho is there too. And not just Sho. A new visual-kei band (visual-kei is the type of musical artist that Sho is) that is blatantly copying Sho's songs and style.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Bookish Recap

I'm joining Tynga's Reviews' meme Stacking the Shelves and The Story Siren's In My Mailbox meme today. Thanks for hosting Tynga and Kristi!

On the Blog This Week


Manga Mondays:


Reviews:


The Lost Saint by Bree Despainr

CONTEST!!!!


GIVEAWAY!


Books I Read This Week


-It was a non-YA week. And very appropriate to read two UK centric books on the week of the Olympics.


To End All Wars by Adam Hochschild


Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch by Sally Bedell Smith

Books Received This Week



Library Stash


Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

-Book club book for August.


Last Rite (Personal Demons #3) by Lisa Desrochers


Bring Up the Bodies (Wolf Hall #2) by Hilary Mantel

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Feature and Follow Friday #107

Welcome to the Feature & Follow



Gain new followers and make new friends with the Book Blogger Feature & Follow! If this is your first time here, welcome! You are about to make some new friends and gain new followers -- but you have to know -- the point of this hop is to follow other bloggers also. I follow you, you follow me.

The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee's View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it'll allow us to show off more new blogs!

How does this work? First you leave your name here on this post, (using the linky tools -- keep scrolling!) then you create a post on your own blog that links back to this post (easiest way is to just grab the code under the #FF picture and put it in your post) and then you visit as many blogs as you can and tell them "hi" in their comments (on the post that has the #FF image). You follow them, they follow you. Win. Win. Just make sure to follow back if someone follows you!

What sets this Hop apart from others, is our Feature. Each week we will showcase a Featured Blogger, from all different genres and areas. Who is our Feature today? Find out below. Just remember it is required, if you participate, to follow our Features and you must follow the hosts (Parajunkee & Alison Can Read) as a courtesy. How do you follow someone? Well, if you have a preference, state it in your #FF post. A lot of blogs are transitioning to Wordpress in which they do not have the luxury of GFC, so an RSS subscription is appreciated or if you choose an email subscription. If you don't have GFC please state in your post how you would like to be followed.



How To Become a Featured Blog?

We pick our featured blogs randomly each week from the blogs who participated the week before.

Please be sure to feature your e-mail address clearly on your blog. Either on the main blog, on a Contact page, or on an About Me page. If I can't find your email easily, I will choose a different blog to feature.

The Savage Grace by Bree Despain

The Savage Grace (The Dark Divine #3) by Bree Despain
Release Date:
March 13, 2012
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Source: Library

Summary

A troubled soul. An impossible choice. A final battle.

Wrestling with the werewolf curse pulsing deep inside of her, Grace Divine was finally able to find her brother, but it nearly cost her everything.

With her boyfriend, Daniel, stuck in wolf form and Sirhan's death approaching, time is running out for Grace to stop Caleb Kalbi and his gang of demons. If she fails, her family and hometown will perish. Everything rests on Grace's shoulders.

The final installment in The Dark Divine trilogy brings Daniel and Grace's love story to a breathtaking conclusion.(courtesy of Goodreads)

Review

Do you ever have those books where it's hard to determine whether you actually liked the book or you only think you liked it because you wanted to like it? The Savage Grace was one of those for me. I had trouble mustering up enthusiasm for this book from beginning to end. Plus, writing this review several weeks after I finished the book, I had to rack my brain to remember anything about the story. But I liked it. I really did. When I dig hard enough, I remember the story and characters with fondness. It's just hard for me to care.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

GIVEAWAY! ARC of The Kingmakers (Vampire Empire #3) by Clay and Susan Griffith

If you read my blog much, you'll know that I am a big vampire fan. Young vampires, old vampires, fat vampires, thin vampires, girl vampires, boy vampires, sparkly vampires, dull vampires. I love them all.

I was thrilled to discover Clay and Susan Griffith's Vampire Empire series last year. It is one of the best - perhaps the best - vampire series I have ever read. These vampires are truly terrifying creatures yet with also very human in their politics, social structure, power-seeking, and even their capacity to love. The Vampire Empire series features one of the best romantic pairings: Adele the Equatorian Princess and The Greyfriar, the great vampire hunter. The series features a very strong female protagonist, complex politics, great fight scenes, elemental magic, and of course lots of vampires. I can't recommend it enough!

Check out my reviews of the first two books:

Review of The Greyfriar

Review of The Rift Walker

The Kingmakers, the final book in the trilogy will be released in September. I've already read it and I can tell you that it is just as wonderful as the previous two books.

The Kingmakers by Clay and Susan Griffith

Release Date:
September 4, 2012
Publisher: Pyr

Summary

A war to the death.

Empress Adele has launched a grand crusade against the vampire clans of the north. Prince Gareth, the vampire lord of Scotland, serves the Equatorian cause, fighting in the bloody trenches of France in his guise as the dashing Greyfriar. But the human armies are pinned down, battered by harsh weather and merciless attacks from vampire packs.

To even the odds, Adele unleashes the power of her geomancy, a fearsome weapon capable of slaughtering vampires in vast numbers. However, the power she expends threatens her own life even as she questions the morality of such a weapon.

As the war turns ever bloodier and Adele is threatened by betrayal, Gareth faces a terrible choice. Their only hope is a desperate strike against the lord of the vampire clans – Gareth’s brother, Cesare. It is a gamble that could win the war or signal the final days of the Greyfriar.

The Vampire Empire trilogy rushes to a heart-wrenching conclusion of honor and love, hatred and vengeance, sacrifice and loss.

GIVEAWAY - Open Internationally


I have the great honor to host a giveaway for 1 ARC of The Kingmakers today on behalf of Clay and Susan as well as Pyr Books.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Guest Posts Needed! My 3 Books

August and September are going to be very busy for me. I am moving from California to Montana in about three weeks. Then I'm going to be traveling in Europe for a few weeks. An exciting time that is sure to be full of stress and fun. Given my packed schedule, it will be hard for me to maintain my regular posting. I still want to keep the blog active, so I'd like to put up guest posts.

Not just any guest posts, but guest posts with a theme.

Have you ever heard or read the Three Books series on NPR? Check out Three Books on NPR's website. Authors tell us about three books on a single theme.

Recent themes include "3 Books on Scandalous Teachers," "3 Books That Should Be Movies," "3 Books That Take Flight," etc.

The Lost Saint by Bree Despain

The Lost Saint (The Dark Divine #2) by Bree Despain
Release Date:
December 28, 2010
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Source: Library

Summary

A family destroyed. A love threatened. An enemy returns.

Grace Divine made the ultimate sacrifice to cure Daniel Kalbi. She was infected with the werewolf curse while trying to save him, and lost her beloved brother in the process.

Desperate to find Jude, Grace befriends Talbot, a newcomer to town. But as the two grow closer, Grace's relationship with Daniel is put in danger - in more ways than one.

Unaware of the dark path she is walking, Grace begins to give into the wolf inside of her - not realizing that an enemy has returned and a deadly trap is about to be sprung.

Bree Despain delivers sizzling romance and thrilling action in the heart-pounding sequel to the The Dark Divine.(courtesy of Goodreads)

Review

Bree Despain managed to do something with The Lost Saint at which few authors succeed: write a sophomore book that is better than the first book. I liked The Dark Divine, but I really liked The Lost Saint.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Manga Mondays (112): Skip Beat! vol. 13 by Yoshiki Nakamura

New Manga Mondays Meme!

I've been doing Manga Mondays every week since I started my blog 2 years ago. It's always been a personal feature, but now I'm going to try turning it into a meme. There are quite a few people who do Manga Mondays. I don't claim by any means that I owned or created the idea of Manga Mondays - it's an obvious choice given the alliteration. I think a meme would be a good way for everyone to publicize their own Manga Mondays and get a little more publicity.

The linky will be below my review.

Skip Beat! vol. 13 by Yoshiki Nakamura


Summary

Kyoko Mogami followed her true love Sho to Tokyo to support him while he made it big as an idol. But he's casting her out now that he's famous! Kyoko won't suffer in silence--she's going to get her sweet revenge by beating Sho in show biz!

Kyoko Mogami followed her true love Sho to Tokyo to support him while he made it big as an idol. But he's casting her out now that he's famous. Kyoko won't suffer in silence--she's going to get her sweet revenge by beating Sho in show biz (courtesy of the back cover and Goodreads)

Review

*Warning: Potential spoilers. My manga reviews tend to be more of a summary than a review. I find it hard to review manga in the same way I do regular books.

Most of this volume is taken up with Ren's acting test. Ren has to convince the president of his agency that his acting is up to romantic snuff or he's sacked. Of course Ren passes. He does it with style. After his rehearsal with Kyoko the night before, Ren is confident that he can perfectly act his scenes. He decides to improvise. Ren's costar Itsumi isn't going for it. She thinks he's being too brash at insisting on improvising. What's even worse is that Ren insists he can "make Itsumi act" like her character. Frankly, this would annoy me too. Itsumi isn't going to fall for Ren's charms.

Manga Mondays (111): Skip Beat! vol. 12 by Yoshiki Nakamura

New Manga Mondays Meme!

I've been doing Manga Mondays every week since I started my blog 2 years ago. It's always been a personal feature, but now I'm going to try turning it into a meme. There are quite a few people who do Manga Mondays. I don't claim by any means that I owned or created the idea of Manga Mondays - it's an obvious choice given the alliteration. I think a meme would be a good way for everyone to publicize their own Manga Mondays and get a little more publicity.

The linky will be below my review.

Skip Beat! vol. 12 by Yoshiki Nakamura


Summary

Kyoko Mogami followed her true love Sho to Tokyo to support him while he made it big as an idol. But he's casting her out now that he's famous! Kyoko won't suffer in silence--she's going to get her sweet revenge by beating Sho in show biz!

Kyoko's determination to help Ren continues as she lends a friendly ear--in her chicken suit. Ren opens up and confides in Chicken Bo, but is Kyoko really ready to deal with his lovelorn confession? (courtesy of the back cover and Goodreads)

Review

*Warning: Potential spoilers. My manga reviews tend to be more of a summary than a review. I find it hard to review manga in the same way I do regular books.

Ren knows it...he's in love, but as he says "I cannot afford to admit it." Ren's now got the emotions of a starcrossed lover. He just needs to learn how to act it. And time is running short. The president of Ren's talent agency has called a test of Ren's acting. If he fails, he'll be fired from the movie (interestingly, it's his agency that will insist on his removal, not the director).

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Bookish Recap

I'm joining Tynga's Reviews' meme Stacking the Shelves and The Story Siren's In My Mailbox meme today. Thanks for hosting Tynga and Kristi!

On the Blog This Week


Manga Mondays:


Reviews:


Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter

CONTEST!!!!



Read Outside the Box


Books I Read This Week



The House at Riverton by Kate Morton



Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry


Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins

Books Received This Week


Library Stash


Dreamless (Starcrossed #2) by Josephine Angelini


To End All Wars by Adam Hochschild


Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch by Sally Bedell Smith

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Feature and Follow Friday #106

Welcome to the Feature & Follow



Gain new followers and make new friends with the Book Blogger Feature & Follow! If this is your first time here, welcome! You are about to make some new friends and gain new followers -- but you have to know -- the point of this hop is to follow other bloggers also. I follow you, you follow me.

The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee's View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it'll allow us to show off more new blogs!

How does this work? First you leave your name here on this post, (using the linky tools -- keep scrolling!) then you create a post on your own blog that links back to this post (easiest way is to just grab the code under the #FF picture and put it in your post) and then you visit as many blogs as you can and tell them "hi" in their comments (on the post that has the #FF image). You follow them, they follow you. Win. Win. Just make sure to follow back if someone follows you!

What sets this Hop apart from others, is our Feature. Each week we will showcase a Featured Blogger, from all different genres and areas. Who is our Feature today? Find out below. Just remember it is required, if you participate, to follow our Features and you must follow the hosts (Parajunkee & Alison Can Read) as a courtesy. How do you follow someone? Well, if you have a preference, state it in your #FF post. A lot of blogs are transitioning to Wordpress in which they do not have the luxury of GFC, so an RSS subscription is appreciated or if you choose an email subscription. If you don't have GFC please state in your post how you would like to be followed.



How To Become a Featured Blog?

We pick our featured blogs randomly each week from the blogs who participated the week before.

Please be sure to feature your e-mail address clearly on your blog. Either on the main blog, on a Contact page, or on an About Me page. If I can't find your email easily, I will choose a different blog to feature.

Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter

Goddess Interrupted (Goddess Test #2)by Aimee Carter
Release Date:
March 27, 2012
Publisher: HarlequinTeen
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review

Summary

KATE WINTERS HAS WON IMMORTALITY.

BUT IF SHE WANTS A LIFE WITH HENRY IN THE UNDERWORLD, SHE'LL HAVE TO FIGHT FOR IT.

Becoming immortal wasn't supposed to be the easy part. Though Kate is about to be crowned Queen of the Underworld, she's as isolated as ever. And despite her growing love for Henry, ruler of the Underworld, he's becoming ever more distant and secretive. Then, in the midst of Kate's coronation, Henry is abducted by the only being powerful enough to kill him: the King of the Titans.

As the other gods prepare for a war that could end them all, it is up to Kate to save Henry from the depths of Tartarus. But in order to navigate the endless caverns of the Underworld, Kate must enlist the help of the one person who is the greatest threat to her future.

Henry's first wife, Persephone.(courtesy of Goodreads)

Review

Goddess Interrupted explores the world of Greek mythology more deeply than its predecessor Goddess Test. Kate is thoroughly immersed in the Underworld, but she's still a beginner and has no idea what she should be doing. It doesn't help that the gods' world is rapidly changing or perhaps imploding.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Contest! Top Ten Reasons I Know I'm Addicted to Books

Last week, I started playing around with a top ten list. Specifically, top ten ways to tell that I'm a book-aholic. I came up with a few:

1. When I was in New York, not only did I go to a book conference for four days, but I also visited seven bookstores - three of them twice. Plus a library.

2. I never take a trip with fewer than three books. Even if it's just an overnight trip. Because you never know...

3. The first thing I do when visiting a person's home is look at their bookshelves.

Things like that. As fun as creating my own list was, I realized it would be even better to hear from my fellow readers. Because if you spend inordinate amounts of time writing or reading book blogs, I'd guess that you suffer from a terminal case of book addiction.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder

Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder
Release Date:
December 20, 2011
Publisher: Mira
Source: Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Summary

Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan absorbs their wounds and diseases into herself. But rather than being honored for her skills, she is hunted. Healers like Avry are accused of spreading the plague that has decimated the Fifteen Realms, leaving the survivors in a state of chaos.

Stressed and tired from hiding, Avry is abducted by a band of rogues who, shockingly, value her gift above the golden bounty offered for her capture. Their leader, an enigmatic captor-protector with powers of his own, is unequivocal in his demands: Avry must heal a plague-stricken prince—leader of a campaign against her people. As they traverse the daunting Nine Mountains, beset by mercenaries and magical dangers, Avry must decide who is worth healing and what is worth dying for. Because the price of peace may well be her life...(courtesy of Goodreads)

Review

Like many readers, I adored Maria Snyder's book Poison Study, so it was with great eagerness and a little trepidation that I picked up Touch of Power. I'd heard that it was just as good as Poison Study or maybe even better; I was afraid that I would be disappointed. Not to worry. I loved Touch of Power!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Book Suggestions Needed: Adult Science Fiction for Read Outside the Box

The first three editions of Read Outside the Box were great successes. Check out my and my readers' favorite Biographies/Memoirs, Adult Mysteries, and Adult Historical Fiction if you haven't already!

Here's the topic:

Adult Science Fiction


This will be a hard topic for me, because I don't read much science fiction. But I'm always looking for books that will get me to love the genre. I'm excited to hear your suggestions!

What are one or two of the best adult science fiction books you've ever read?

Why?

Leave a comment or email me at alisoncanread@gmail.com with your suggestions.

I'm hoping to post the list in early August, so be on the look out for the newest edition of Read Outside the Box!!!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Bookish Recap

I'm joining Tynga's Reviews' meme Stacking the Shelves and The Story Siren's In My Mailbox meme today. Thanks for hosting Tynga and Kristi!

On the Blog This Week


Manga Mondays:


Reviews:


The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Best Of 2012


Books I Read This Week



The Golden Lily (Bloodlines #2) by Richelle Mead
-It was everything I hoped it would be and more!



The Kingmakers (Vampire Empire #3) by Clay and Susan Griffith
-A great ending to one of my favorite vampire series!

Books Received This Week


Library Stash


The Golden Lily (Bloodlines #2) by Richelle Mead
-I've been waiting for this book for so long. I picked it up yesterday and I've already finished it. Loved it so much!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Feature and Follow Friday #105

Welcome to the Feature & Follow



Gain new followers and make new friends with the Book Blogger Feature & Follow! If this is your first time here, welcome! You are about to make some new friends and gain new followers -- but you have to know -- the point of this hop is to follow other bloggers also. I follow you, you follow me.

The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee's View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it'll allow us to show off more new blogs!

How does this work? First you leave your name here on this post, (using the linky tools -- keep scrolling!) then you create a post on your own blog that links back to this post (easiest way is to just grab the code under the #FF picture and put it in your post) and then you visit as many blogs as you can and tell them "hi" in their comments (on the post that has the #FF image). You follow them, they follow you. Win. Win. Just make sure to follow back if someone follows you!

What sets this Hop apart from others, is our Feature. Each week we will showcase a Featured Blogger, from all different genres and areas. Who is our Feature today? Find out below. Just remember it is required, if you participate, to follow our Features and you must follow the hosts (Parajunkee & Alison Can Read) as a courtesy. How do you follow someone? Well, if you have a preference, state it in your #FF post. A lot of blogs are transitioning to Wordpress in which they do not have the luxury of GFC, so an RSS subscription is appreciated or if you choose an email subscription. If you don't have GFC please state in your post how you would like to be followed.



How To Become a Featured Blog?

We pick our featured blogs randomly each week from the blogs who participated the week before.

Please be sure to feature your e-mail address clearly on your blog. Either on the main blog, on a Contact page, or on an About Me page. If I can't find your email easily, I will choose a different blog to feature.

My Favorite Mistake by Georgina Bloomberg and Catherine Hapka

My Favorite Mistake by Georgina Bloomberg and Catherine Hapka
Release Date:
February 28, 2012, 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Source: Library

Summary

Tommi, Zara, and Kate are all elite riders on the A Circuit. Tommi, the billionaire heiress, is training a young horse to prove she can make horses a real career. But when her new beau, Alex, convinces her to skip a horse show to party in the Hamptons, the results could be disastrous. Zara, the celebutante wild child, is finally taking her riding seriously. Until the new "nanny" her dad hires threatens to upstage Zara's party girl status. Then there's Kate. She doesn't have money to burn like the others, but she does have Fitz, the barn's resident hot guy. But when the pressure of being a working student builds, Kate's perfectionist tendencies threaten to get in the way of her relationship and her riding.

Readers who are growing out of the Canterwood Crest series or searching for an A-list fix have found just what they're looking for in the A Circuit series.(courtesy of Goodreads)

Review

The A Circuit series is one of those guilty pleasure type of books. It's formulaic and features superficial, not always likable, somewhat amoral characters. And yet, I eagerly suck up these books for the world of horses and privileged teenagers.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Favorite Books and Music of 2012 Thus Far

It's hard to believe that 2012 is more than half over. It seems like I was just getting used to writing 2012 down for the date instead of 2011. 2013 will be here before I know it. Like all years, there has been tons of good books released in early 2012. Authors never fail to thrill me with books that somehow manages to differentiate themselves from the millions of books published before them.

Top Ten Young Adult Books of 2012 Thus Far:


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Release Date:
April 1, 2012
Publisher: Scholastic
Source: Library, Bought

Summary

The False Prince is the thrilling first book in a brand-new trilogy filled with danger and deceit and hidden identities that will have readers rushing breathlessly to the end.

In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king's long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner's motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword's point -- he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage's rivals have their own agendas as well.

As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner's sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together.

An extraordinary adventure filled with danger and action, lies and deadly truths that will have readers clinging to the edge of their seats.(courtesy of Goodreads)

Review

If you don't have time to read my entire review, base your decision on whether to read The False Prince on this paragraph. After I read the last word on the last page, I set the book in front of my husband and said "Read this. Now." Not a request. A command. As the smart boy does in most circumstances, he immediately complied and loved the book. My copy of The False Prince was from the library. I waited until the last moment to return the book, re-reading favorite passages multiple times. Before I reluctantly slid it into the return slot at the library, I literally kissed the book goodbye. Since that time, I've bought an e-copy of the book and re-read it. I also bought a physical copy for my parents which I'll take back when they finish it. The book is that good!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Manga Mondays (110): Skip Beat! vol. 11 by Yoshiki Nakamura

New Manga Mondays Meme!

I've been doing Manga Mondays every week since I started my blog 2 years ago. It's always been a personal feature, but now I'm going to try turning it into a meme. There are quite a few people who do Manga Mondays. I don't claim by any means that I owned or created the idea of Manga Mondays - it's an obvious choice given the alliteration. I think a meme would be a good way for everyone to publicize their own Manga Mondays and get a little more publicity.

The linky will be below my review.

Skip Beat! vol. 11 by Yoshiki Nakamura


Summary

Kyoko Mogami followed her true love Sho to Tokyo to support him while he made it big as an idol. But he's casting her out now that he's famous! Kyoko won't suffer in silence--she's going to get her sweet revenge by beating Sho in show biz!

Ren is having difficulty acting the part of a love-struck suitor since he's never really been in love before. But as Ren sees his friend Kyoko getting close with his manager, he realizes he knows more about love than he thought. (courtesy of the back cover and Goodreads)

Review

*Warning: Potential spoilers. My manga reviews tend to be more of a summary than a review. I find it hard to review manga in the same way I do regular books.

Kyoko to the rescue yet again! It's Ren's turn to struggle in acting. We discovered briefly in Volume 9 that Ren has never fallen for a girl. Therefore, he's unable to emotionally connect to the role of a starcrossed lover, a guy who shouldn't fall for a girl but can't help himself. Ren is paralyzed and walks off the set in defeat.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Bookish Recap

I'm joining Tynga's Reviews' meme Stacking the Shelves and The Story Siren's In My Mailbox meme today. Thanks for hosting Tynga and Kristi!

On the Blog This Week

-I took Wednesday and Thursday off because of July 4, so it's light week.

Manga Mondays:


Reviews:


Author Interview:


Books I Read This Week




A Farewell to Charms (Princess for Hire #3) by Lindsey Leavitt



I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga



Tokyo Heist by Diana Renn

Books Received This Week


Library Stash


Spellbound by Rachel Hawkins


I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga



Tokyo Heist by Diana Renn


CD Stash



Break It Yourself by Andrew Bird

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Feature and Follow Friday #104

Welcome to the Feature & Follow



Gain new followers and make new friends with the Book Blogger Feature & Follow! If this is your first time here, welcome! You are about to make some new friends and gain new followers -- but you have to know -- the point of this hop is to follow other bloggers also. I follow you, you follow me.

The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee's View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it'll allow us to show off more new blogs!

How does this work? First you leave your name here on this post, (using the linky tools -- keep scrolling!) then you create a post on your own blog that links back to this post (easiest way is to just grab the code under the #FF picture and put it in your post) and then you visit as many blogs as you can and tell them "hi" in their comments (on the post that has the #FF image). You follow them, they follow you. Win. Win. Just make sure to follow back if someone follows you!

What sets this Hop apart from others, is our Feature. Each week we will showcase a Featured Blogger, from all different genres and areas. Who is our Feature today? Find out below. Just remember it is required, if you participate, to follow our Features and you must follow the hosts (Parajunkee & Alison Can Read) as a courtesy. How do you follow someone? Well, if you have a preference, state it in your #FF post. A lot of blogs are transitioning to Wordpress in which they do not have the luxury of GFC, so an RSS subscription is appreciated or if you choose an email subscription. If you don't have GFC please state in your post how you would like to be followed.



How To Become a Featured Blog?

We pick our featured blogs randomly each week from the blogs who participated the week before.

Please be sure to feature your e-mail address clearly on your blog. Either on the main blog, on a Contact page, or on an About Me page. If I can't find your email easily, I will choose a different blog to feature.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Fever (The Chemical Garden #2) by Lauren Destefano

Fever (The Chemical Garden #2) by Lauren Destefano
Release Date:
February 21, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Source: Library

Summary

Rhine and Gabriel have escaped the mansion, but danger is never far behind.

Running away brings Rhine and Gabriel right into a trap, in the form of a twisted carnival whose ringmistress keeps watch over a menagerie of girls. Just as Rhine uncovers what plans await her, her fortune turns again. With Gabriel at her side, Rhine travels through an environment as grim as the one she left a year ago - surroundings that mirror her own feelings of fear and hopelessness.

The two are determined to get to Manhattan, to relative safety with Rhine’s twin brother, Rowan. But the road there is long and perilous - and in a world where young women only live to age twenty and young men die at twenty-five, time is precious. Worse still, they can’t seem to elude Rhine’s father-in-law, Vaughn, who is determined to bring Rhine back to the mansion...by any means necessary.

In the sequel to Lauren DeStefano’s harrowing Wither, Rhine must decide if freedom is worth the price - now that she has more to lose than ever.(courtesy of Goodreads)

Review

Most readers have genres they prefer over others. I think it's important to challenge prejudices and misconceptions against certain genres. Find the right book and you may fall in love. I do not like dystopias. I never have. I know I've said this over and over on the blog. That said, I really enjoyed Wither. The concept of women dying at 20 and men dying at 25 from an incurable virus and its societal consequences was fascinating in a horrible way. But most of all, I loved Rhine and her relationship with her sister wives. I eagerly anticipated Fever. But it was not for me. That's not to say that Fever is a bad book. If you like dystopias, I think you will enjoy Fever very much. Unfortunately, it contains all of the things about dystopias that I dislike and lacked the qualities I liked from Wither.

Fever is dark. 2 AM drowning in solid blackness dark. Wither was a very dark book, but Fever took it down another pitch. Every time you think things for Rhine and Gabriel are going to get better, they get worse. That's not my style. There's a reason I hated The Handmaid's Tale and 1984 when everyone else loved it. I don't want to finish a book only to feel like I need to down a pint of Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough to cheer up. And that's what this book made me want to do (good thing I didn't have any ice cream in the house). But a lot of people love that kind of thing.

Fever is constant action. Gabriel and Rhine are on the run from evil Governor Vaughn. They get themselves into one mess only to extricate themselves and then get into another mess. You won't get bored with this book, because things change so quickly. I loved the addition of Maddie, a mute little girl who manages to silently save the day numerous times.

Another high point of Fever is the writing. Not necessarily the plotting or characterization, which I have some issues with, but the writing itself. I'm impressed with Lauren. Plot development and good characterization are things that can improve as she develops as a writer, but sheer beauty of words is a more innate talent. Her prose is so descriptive. I could feel, see, smell, and taste the heavy tension and despair throughout the novel. The words were important players in Fever, rather than simple tools to an end, as often is the case with less talented writers.

Onto my plotting and characterization issues. My quibbles about the plot are mostly personal preference. The sister wives and Linden were my favorite parts about Wither. We hardly saw any of these elements in Wither. Instead, it was focused on Gabriel and Rhine, who unfortunately weren't as thrilling to me. I like Rhine. Her inner strength and stubbornness carry her and Gabriel through all their trials. I neither like nor dislike Gabriel. And that is a failing, I think. The romantic lead should be more compelling. He feels like a blank slate. I much preferred Linden in Wither, who may have been a wimp but was more sympathetic. Then there's Governor Vaughn who is cardboard evil. I like my villains with more layers.

Fever has a lot going for it, particularly constant action and strong prose. It follows the stereotypical dark dystopia theme, which is great if you like that kind of thing. Although Fever may not be for me, I still feel invested enough in the story and plot that I look forward to reading (or at least skimming) the next installment.

Rating: 2.5 / 5

Monday, July 2, 2012

Author Interview: Lindsey Leavitt of A Farewell to Charms

A Farewell to Charms (Princess for Hire #3) by Lindsey Leavitt
June 26, 2012; Disney-Hyperion


Summary

Desi Bascomb is a princess substitute prodigy--she's the fastest employee ever to advance to level three in the Facade Agency, and the youngest to ever be a full-time sub. But now with all eyes on Desi, the only thing she wants is a moment alone to talk to Reed, who's a Facade legacy and secretly a sub for princes As Desi trains for her new role, she spies more than a few cracks in Facade's perfect appearance. But uncovering the agency's dark past might require more than a princess sub can handle by herself. Desi is no damsel in distress, but sometimes a girl needs a knight in shining armor.(courtesy of Goodreads)

Meet Lindsey

Lindsey Leavitt is a former elementary school teacher and present-day writer/mom to three (mostly) adorable little girls. She is married to her high-school lab partner and lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. She is the author of the PRINCESS FOR HIRE series and SEAN GRISWOLD’S HEAD.

She also feels weird writing about herself in third person.


Author Interview

Please welcome Lindsey Leavitt to Alison Can Read! I'm so grateful that Lindsey asked me to be on her blog tour. I'm a huge fan of her books and so grateful to be able to help her promote the last Princess for Hire book. Thanks Lindsey!!!

1. For those who haven't read the Princess for Hire series, can you give a brief overview of the books and of Desi?

Princess for Hire is about Desi, your every-day too-tall, feels-small girl who gets a job as a magical substitute for vacationing princesses. The longer she works for the Fa├žade agency, the more she learns that being a princess isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

2. The Princess for Hire books are essentially middle grade magical realism. Your other book Sean Griswold's Head is YA contemporary fiction. Was it a lot different to write a contemporary novel? Do you have a preference for one genre over another?

It was different, and that’s what I loved about them both. My MG/tween stories are more plot driven, so I had to spend a lot of time on the world building and mapping out the events over the course of a three books. My contemporary books start with a character, and I build everything around that. I usually have a mid-grade and a contemporary going at the same time, so it’s fun to jump back and forth. If I had to pick, I’d probably say contemporary YA since that’s what I love to read, but the overall experience for Princess for Hire made me grow more as a writer. They’re fun and pacey, but were much more difficult to write

3. If you could spend a week in any city in any country, where would it be? What would you do?

Oh my. This is hard. Right now I’m thinking Bora Bora, but that’s just because I hurt my back wakeboarding last week and all I can imagine is massages in private bungalows. When I’m in top health, my answer would probably be London and I’d like to go do anything touched by royalty. I’ve spent the last five years researching various monarchies, and it’d be fun to see the most popular monarchy in the world in action.

4. What are some of your favorite MG and YA books - either recent releases or ones from when you were younger?

Some older midgrade that comes to mind are Ella Enchanted, The Giver, & The Witch of Blackbird Pond. Some recent ones I liked were Kat Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis (Jane Austen with magic) and The Classroom by Robin Mellon, which comes out this month and is the funniest mid grade I have read in years.

For YA, I learn towards contemporary with a little historical fiction mixed in. I love Jennifer Donnelly’s books, Lisa Schroeder’s verse novels, The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson, The Absolute Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, and The Fault In Our Stars by John Green just rocked my face off. I could go on and on…

5. Can you please offer some writing advice aside from the ubiquitous "read a lot" and "write a lot?"

Read a lot AND write a lot.

Oh, more? Okay, the most important thing to remember with a rough draft is for it to be considered a draft, you need to finish. It doesn’t matter if it’s good, it really doesn’t, but you should try for a beginning, middle and end. Just get that skeleton down on paper, then in revision you can explore its closet.

Manga Mondays (109): Skip Beat! vol. 10 by Yoshiki Nakamura

New Manga Mondays Meme!

I've been doing Manga Mondays every week since I started my blog 2 years ago. It's always been a personal feature, but now I'm going to try turning it into a meme. There are quite a few people who do Manga Mondays. I don't claim by any means that I owned or created the idea of Manga Mondays - it's an obvious choice given the alliteration. I think a meme would be a good way for everyone to publicize their own Manga Mondays and get a little more publicity.

The linky will be below my review.

Skip Beat! vol. 10 by Yoshiki Nakamura


Summary

Kyoko Mogami followed her true love Sho to Tokyo to support him while he made it big as an idol. But he's casting her out now that he's famous! Kyoko won't suffer in silence--she's going to get her sweet revenge by beating Sho in show biz!

Kyokos been scouted for a role in this years most anticipated drama, a remake of the classic "Tsukimori." But shades of the past threaten to stifle the production as Kyoko struggles to get into the character of Mio, a young woman with a severely scarred face. (courtesy of the back cover and Goodreads)

Review

*Warning: Potential spoilers. My manga reviews tend to be more of a summary than a review. I find it hard to review manga in the same way I do regular books.

Volume 10 starts a very long story arc of Tsukimori, the movie. It's Kyoko's first major role in a TV drama (more of a mini-series than a show). This volume focuses almost entirely on Kyoko, Ren, and the director of the film. Sho is absent until the last few pages. As a result, we don't see as much of Kyoko's grudge demons. How I miss them! Dark Kyoko is the best part of this series. They do show up a little bit when Kyoko is challenged, so at least we get little grudge-lets.

Mr. Ogata, the director of Tsukimori, is an important character for the next several volumes. He is a young man (only 27) and starts out looking weak and effeminate. Mr. Ogata is the son of a legendary director who did the original Tsukimori. Mr. Ogata is terrified that he won't be able to live up to his father's reputation - because naturally he cannot merely equal his father; he will be seen as a failure unless he surpasses him. He literally goes chokes over the pressure.

Kyoko to the rescue, in an unexpected way. Like Mr. Ogata, Kyoko is under pressure to live up to the original actress for Mio. She surprises everyone by creating a daring, new interpretation of Mio. Kyoko's inherent darkness serves her well as she channels the character in a way that the original actress never did.

When Kyoko's demons aren't present, she sometimes seems like a stereotypical subservient girl. She's overly nice and nearly falls over herself to apologize for whatever she perceives to be wrong. Yet the book consistently shows Kyoko's inherent strength. Kyoko's dark interpretation of Mio gives Mr. Ogata the courage that he too can do something different than his father. It is Kyoko who inspires the more experienced and older men in the series.

Sign up for the Manga Mondays Meme!


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Bookish Recap

I'm joining Tynga's Reviews' meme Stacking the Shelves and The Story Siren's In My Mailbox meme today. Thanks for hosting Tynga and Kristi!

On the Blog This Week


Manga Mondays:


Reviews:



Read Outside the Box:

Books I Read This Week




Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
-Oh my gosh...So incredible!!!!


Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein



Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
-Finally reading this one. It's great so far.


Books Received This Week


Library Stash

-I really shouldn't have gotten anything at the library with all my BEA books at home, but I couldn't help myself.


Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky



The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels by Ree Drummond


Off Balance: A Memoir by Dominique Moceanu, Paul Williams, Teri Williams
-A must read for any gymnastics fan. Sure makes the Karolyis look bad.


Books For Review:



The Kingmakers (Vampire Empire #3) by Clay Griffith and Susan Griffith
-Thanks to Prometheus Books! Did a happy dance when this one arrived.

  Songs Bought




Eyes Wide Open by Gotye



Some Nights by Fun.
-Same group that sings "We Are Young." I like this song much better. That's putting it mildly. I am wildly in love with this song!!! The video is great too.



Carry On by Fun. 
-The video is acoustic. I actually like the acoustic version a little better than the album version.
 
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